I joined Atkins in September 2021 as a degree apprentice on their apprentice consultant development programme (ACDP) in our Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Technology division. I wanted to get into consultancy due to the diverse nature of projects that you can work on. I felt that Atkins would be a good fit for me to develop my consulting understanding since as a business it works on a wide range of exciting and varied projects that I wanted to get involved with. During my last year of school, I had an apprenticeship mentor and she really inspired me to want to go into consulting through the apprenticeship route.
I typically work from the Bristol Office and tend to spend around 3 days a week in the office. I live very close to the office and walk to work most days. I tend to work from home when I have university as I find it easier to focus on studying at home. As an organisation, Atkins are very flexible and let you choose which days of the week you work from the office, and which you work from home. Every other month the Bristol Apprentices, placement students and graduates travel down to London for the day to see all the other young professionals. It is exciting to travel to London with my apprentice cohort and experience a different city for the day.
I mainly interact with my project manager and the other apprentices that I work together with on my client work. However, the office is often bustling with other employees and apprentices, who I frequently go to lunch with.
I am a Project Controls Officer working on the Engineering Delivery Partnership. My role entails managing project financials to ensure projects adhere to budgets and margins. Alongside my client work, I am involved with other projects like the apprentice challenge. The apprentice challenge is something that apprentices undertake in their first year, lasting for six months. The aim is to allow apprentices to run their own projects and gain experience in that area. I am the project manager for the challenge, which involves me delegating tasks among the team and tracking progress, to ensure that we meet our deadlines. Alongside my apprentice challenge and client work I co project manage the core consultancy skills framework (CCSF) which is a program designed to inform consultants about best practice and allow them to further their consultancy development. I have only just taken over from the previous project managers and I am excited to put my own ideas into the CCSF. I am an advocate for the recruitment of apprentices and often go to career fairs and do talks on apprenticeships. For national apprenticeship week I am doing an Instagram takeover for Atkins. I hope to provide a further insight into a day in the life of a project management degree apprentice.
My client work involves a lot of problem solving, which I enjoy. It means that I am constantly searching for problems and trying to find ways to resolve them. The challenging nature of my client work has meant that I have had to learn new tools and upskill on tools I was already familiar with. For example, before starting Atkins, I had only used Excel on occasion to complete basic tasks, but since starting my role I have become proficient in using Excel and other tools on a daily basis.
One thing I find challenging about my role are the tight deadlines when it comes to invoicing clients and briefing the project directors on how the project finances are doing. Time management is key to make sure that I can meet all of my deadlines.
If you are thinking about a career in consulting I would say go for it. It is such a diverse profession that has several roles within it that can suit all skills and interests. I am really enjoying my career in consulting so far and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.